Very interesting thread going on here about copyright and recordings. We can
sit around and complain to each other, but I hope that some on this list are
willing to make their views (and experiences) known to legislators and others
who frame these laws. If you stir up enough noise you CAN make a difference.
You need to know what you're talking about, and you need allies.
Our European colleagues have an opportunity to make a difference right now,
as the EU, under pressure from the multinational entertainment companies,
considers lengthening recording copyright terms there beyond the current 50 years.
To what? Maybe the 95 years that is embedded in federal law in the U.S.?
(State law extends that even further.) Maybe make it retroactive? James
Purnell, the UK's Minister for Creative Industries (www.jamespurnell.labour.co.uk)
has said that he will push this during his EU term in 2006. Does anyone know of
specific European organizations/officials, scholarly or other, that are
opposing this? I can't find any, beyond vague general references. To influence
this debate you need to find allies.
Does anyone on the list live in Purnell's district (Stalybridge & Hyde)?
In the U.S. a number of efforts are going on to try to bring a modicum of
sanity to our copyright laws. Congress DID pass the National Recording
Preservation Act in 2000, which among other things asks for studies of preservation and
access to help inform Congress on what needs to be done in this field (this
is how the previously referenced CLIR study came about). Several prominant
senators and representatives asked the Copyright Office to investigate the
"orphan works" issue, which it is now doing. (I'll write about this in the fall
ARSC Journal). Sure the recording companies have a lot of lobbyists, but they
get a free pass if legislators don't hear the other side, loud and clear, from a
lot of people.
Have you badgered your congressman lately?
Chair, ARSC Copyright & Fair Use Committee